It really is easy being green
With Earth Day approaching and more and more stories appearing about how we humans are the main cause of global warming, it’s appropriate to talk about green living. No, I am not going to dedicate an entire column to the color green. But there are various ways we fashionistas can take our love of fashion and make it good for our environment. It used to be that “green” fashion gave us one option and one option only – hemp. Not the most luxurious fabric and certainly not the best looking. I have visions of hippies in Guatemalan pants with a T-shirt emblazoned with a pot leaf having recently showered in patchouli oil. This is what “green fashion” used to look like. Lucky for us, green fashion has come a long way. These days, there are many options for the conscious consumer that offer shape, style, comfort and even luxury. Levis. Levis has developed an entire line of denim made from organic cotton. I appreciate the fact that Levi’s has paved the way for others to follow. Levis – just the plain 501s – are still cool. So with this clout, Levi’s has done something good for fashion. The brand launched Levi’s Eco last fall. They include features such as a natural colored Levi’s tab and a “Two Horse Patch” made from 100 percent organic fabric to differentiate them from standard Levi’s. One thing is certain in that anything labeled “organic” is always priced at a premium, so expect to pay more for these jeans than your usual 501s. To find organic Levi’s, check out http://www.levis.com.More than trendyWhy is organic cotton important? Over the past decade, it has been cited that conventional cotton farming is one of agriculture’s most environmentally destructive activities. According to the website sustainablecotton.org, “the simple act of growing and harvesting the one pound of cotton fiber needed to make a T-shirt takes an enormous toll on the air, water, and soil, not to mention the health of people living and working in cotton country.” Organic farming is sustainable farming. Without the use of pesticides, the dirt is more readily reusable and less harsh on the global emissions that are produced through the use of pesticides. In addition, sustainable farming produces crops indefinitely, without causing irreversible damage to the ecosystem. While not just for label clout, organic cotton is actually much more earth friendly than its chemically protected counterparts. Cotton provides nearly 50 percent of global fiber needs. My perception about cotton is widely shared in that cotton is a “natural” product. Yet it uses nearly 25 percent of all insecticides applied to agricultural crops, and 11 percent of all pesticides on some 2.5 percent of the worlds cropped area. According to website cut4cloth.co.uk, “problems linked to pesticide use include: reduced soil fertility, frequent water pollution, reduced biodiversity in the surrounding areas and wild animal and livestock poisoning. On top of all that at least 20,000 people in developing countries die every year from poisoning by agricultural pesticides and 3 million suffer acute or reproductive after effects.”So, with all of this enlightening information, the next time you go into the store think very hard about where your clothing and accessories came from. Think about the way the products were created. Think about the people that made your product. Look and see where you items were manufactured. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Egypt, China, etc. are all countries that top the pollution chart.Conversation startersSo – a pair of pants is not just a pair of pants. It actually is a long chain of environmental mishaps. A brand of clothing based out of the U.K. called Howies is worth a browse. This line is 100 percent organic. From their shirts, to skirts, to pants to belts. For the valley women who love to ride bikes, Howies sells belts made out of old bike tires. If not the most streamlined, they make for some great conversation. Howies is smart in design and hip in perception. Started by a skate rat, the clothing styles reflect a very laid back attitude with a bit of sass and a lot of class. To buy Howies log on to their website at http://www.howies.co.uk.Green fashion is good fashion – good for the planet, good for our children, good for your overall psyche. Green fashion can be recycled clothes or organic cotton, but one thing is for certain – green fashion can be cool, fun and great looking. So the next time you go on a shopping spree – think green!